4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 340

Read: April 16-21, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Book of the Month

 

 

Blurb: In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea.

At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo hears what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers and crew members remain accounted for – and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read i n The Woman in Cabin 10 – one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.


Review: This was my August 2016 Book of the Month selection and I’m kicking myself that I’m just getting around to it….

The twists and turns in this one kept me guessing until the near end. I personally was not so fond of the main character, Lo. She spent so much time drinking and not doing her job  that it irritated me to no end. It definitely added somewhat to the intrigue of the book, but at one point I seriously considered the possibility that she was in an insane asylum!

I don’t want to go into too much detail on this book, because I firmly think that the less you know the better. Overall, I really did enjoy this book, but it was just slightly below being a 5 star read for me. But still one that I’ll recommend to anyone who loves a psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator!

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4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book, Stone Barrington, TLC Book Tours, U-V-W

2014.26 REVIEW – Eyes on You by Kate White

Eyes on You
by Kate White

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 306
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: May 30 – June 5, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 26
Format:  Print
Source: TLC Book Tour
Series: None

Eyes on YouBlurb: After losing her on-air job two years ago, the television host Robin Trainer has fought her way back and is now hotter than ever. With her new show climbing in the ratings and her first book a bestseller; she’s being dubbed a media double threat.

But things begin to go wrong. Small incidents at first: a nasty note left in her purse; her photo shredded. But the obnoxious quickly becomes threatening when the foundation used by her makeup artist burns Robin’s face. It wasn’t an accident – someone deliberately doctored the product.

An adversary with a dark agenda wants to hurt Robin, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. While she frantically tries to put the pieces together and unmask this hidden foe, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the person responsible isn’t going to stop until Robin loses everything that matters to her … including her life.


ReviewI received a copy of this book for free for review purposes in conjunction with a TLC Blog Tour, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I am ashamed to admit that I have never read a Kate White book before (although I do have The Sixes on my bookshelf). So I didn’t quite know what to expect of this author going into this book, but I did know that the description sounded really good and I was excited to read it.

Overall, I really liked this book. I kind of wish I had been able to take this one on my upcoming beach trip (but I had agreed to a review date prior to my vacation). I think this book would be a lot of fun to read while sitting by the ocean in a beach chair soaking up the sun!

I will happily admit that I had no idea who the bad guy was in this book until it was finally revealed. The twists and turns were a lot of fun. Robin’s sanity was questioned in my mind numerous times. I just had a lot of fun with this one. Sure, it could have been a little more complicated than it was, but I still really enjoyed it.

 

Highly recommended.


About the Author:

Kate WhiteKate White is recognized internationally as not only the veteran editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, the bestselling women’s magazine in the world, but also as the critically acclaimed author of both fiction and nonfiction books. Few high-profile editors have successfully balanced the rigors of overseeing a major magazine title with a thriving and independent writing career.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

Find out more about Kate at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

As always, I hope you will take the time to visit the other stops on the tour:

Tuesday, June 3rd: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, June 4th: The Year in Books
Thursday, June 5th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, June 9th: Tales of a Book Addict
Tuesday, June 10th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, June 11th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, June 12th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Wednesday, June 18th: Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Thursday, June 19th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, June 24th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, June 25th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, June 26th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, June 30th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, July 2nd: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, July 7th: Always With a Book

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4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, NetGalley, P, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book

2014.13 REVIEW – The Accident by Chris Pavone

The Accident
by Chris Pavone

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 342
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: March 10 – Mar. 17, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 13
Format: E-Book
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

 

The AccidentBlurb: As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.

Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril.  The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became.

The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried.

Gripping, sophisticated, layered, and impossible to put down, The Accident proves once again that Chris Pavone is a true master of suspense.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free through NetGalley, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I originally put in a request for a print galley through an ad in Shelf Awareness. I didn’t get a print galley, but was sent an email inviting me to have access to an e-galley. I gladly clicked through the link and then let the book sit on my Nook for a while. Well, for months, really. Can I just tell you right now that that was the dumbest thing I could have done?!

This book was awesome. It sucked me in from the first page (I was stupid and started it while on the treadmill and only had about 20 minutes to read before my bootcamp class started). I was tempted to skip that class just so I could continue to read! It definitely has an immediate draw, that’s for sure!

This book has every twist and turn imaginable. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, another curveball is thrown and you’re left with your mouth hanging wide open and your eyes bugging out of your head in utter surprise! At least I was!

If I had to nitpick one thing about this book, it was the sheer number of characters and storylines that were introduced in the beginning. I had a little bit of trouble trying to keep track of what was what and who was who. But once things started to come together, I understood why everything was placed as it was. It definitely allowed for layers to be peeled back, one by one.

I found this book to be really enjoyable. I had figured out who the “author” was relatively early on, but I still had no idea about other revelations at the end of the book. The writing was suspenseful and the characters were well-developed.

This was my first time reading this author, but I can say with certainty, it won’t be my last!

One last thing to mention, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a different side of the publishing business through this book. I had no idea how the agent/editor/publisher, purchasing/owning, and then the film options truly worked. So it was pretty interesting to get an insider look on how the process works.

Highly recommended!!

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, Lucy Black, M, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book, SERIES

2014.2 REVIEW – Little Girl Lost by Brian McGilloway

Little Girl Lost
by Brian McGilloway

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 238
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Jan. 7 – 12, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 2
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

LITTLE GIRL LOST_cover imageBlurb: Midwinter. A child is found wandering through the snowy woods, her hands covered in someone else’s blood.

Authorities suspect the child is the kidnapped daughter of real estate tycoon Michael McLaughlin. Once they realize she is far too young to be the missing teenager, they reach a dead end in identifying the girl, who either cannot or will not speak. The only adult she seems to trust is the young officer who found her, Detective Lucy Black. A frenzied investigation to find the McLaughlins’ daughter and to discover the name of the mysterious child is ignited when it becomes apparent that the two cases are linked. As Lucy digs deeper and deeper into the case, she is forced to question not only the persons of interest, but everything she thought she knew about her own past.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free via Edelweiss for review purposes, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I had come across this book randomly on Edelweiss one day and my interest was piqued. Honestly the first time I saw it, there was no book description. All that was there was the book cover. This book’s cover really is what caught my interest (I’m not normally a big cover person). Maybe a week later my contact at William Morrow sent me more information on this book and I immediately clicked the link she sent through for direct access to the book. I loaded it onto my Nook the day Bout of Books started and I was off reading.

The first few pages in I had determined that this author must really have an issue with spell-check. I was a little concerned until I saw the tell-tale “our” on the end of a word instead of the American “or” version. That was finally when I realized that it’s okay that “curb” was spelled “kerb” and “pajamas” was “pyjamas.” I guess I should spend a little more time reading what publicists send me so I know that I’m actually reading a European author write a book set in Ireland! Actually it’s pretty sad because when I look back at the email I was originally sent the subject line actually reads: “#1 UK Kindle Bestseller now available by Witness.” Um, yeah, Tara … you could be a little more observant!

Anyway, I guess I should really stop with the rambling and get on with the review.

So, I will say that I was immediately taken with Lucy Black’s character. She just seemed to spunky and fresh. And you knew immediately that she was dealing with some personal issues as well. Her father is suffering from Alzheimer’s and she has moved back home in order to care for him. Her relationship with her mother is very seriously lacking. And she’s trying to settle into a new job in a new department. So what happens? She dives straight into a case and starts finding connections that some people don’t want to be made. Lucy is such a compassionate character – she really has a way with children and she’s a saint for what she deals with in regards to her father’s failing condition. She’s just a really likable character. I am also interested in seeing how her mother’s character is fleshed out in the future books. The door is open for them to have more of a relationship, I hope that it happens for both of them.

The writing itself was very good and the storyline was really interesting. There were a lot of twists and turns along the way. And when Lucy finally came to figuring out the entire thing, well in order to avoid spoilers, let’s just say that you will probably be surprised with how things end up unfolding. I especially liked how the storylines ended up weaving in together. I spent the majority of the first part of the book trying to figure out how the two cases were going to come together, so it was very interesting to see how they finally did – and not entirely surprising, either.

I’m excited that this is the first in a new series. I can only hope that the next book in the series will be made available in the US as well because I am very eager to meet these characters once again.

Highly recommended.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014, SERIES, Sookie Stackhouse

2014.1 REVIEW – The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter People
by Jennifer McMahon

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Dec. 29, 2013 – Jan. 1, 2014
Challenge: Eclectic Reader 2014, What’s in a Name 2014
Yearly count: 1
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

The Winter PeopleBlurb: West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

 


Review: I received a copy of this book for free via Edelweiss for review purposes, all opinions expressed below are my own.

In January of 2013, I had my first experience with a Jennifer McMahon book, The One I Left Behind. It absolutely blew me away and ended up on my Best Reads of 2013 list. So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw her 2014 release available on Edelweiss for request. You can bet your life that I clicked that request button as soon as absolutely possible (and probably put something like “I loved her last book and would love to read this one” in the additional request box …).

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting of this book, but I know I went in with it with high expectations. Overall I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed. However, it definitely wasn’t the book I expected it to be. I was expecting more mystery than ghost story. But it’s okay, because once again, Ms. McMahon blew me away.

If I honestly had to use one word to sum up this book it would without a doubt be “creepy.” Extremely creepy. Like, I had to put it aside at 10:30pm because I was too creeped out to continue and didn’t want to give myself nightmares creepy.

This book flips back and forth between the present day storyline and the 1908 storyline. There are so many characters in the beginning that I will be completely honest here and let you know that I was a little confused by the sheer number of characters being mentioned. But eventually things come together nicely and you really understand the need for all the characters.

The writing was extremely good. The storyline was so fresh and interesting. The characters were extremely well-developed. And the mystery of it all was so incredibly creepy I still give a little bit of a shudder when I think back on the book itself.

Overall I really have nothing but nice things to say about this book. I definitely highly recommend it and am so excited to realize that I have found another favorite author to put on my auto-read list!

Highly recommended.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, Review Book, SERIES

2013.41 REVIEW – Darkness First by James Hayman

Darkness First
by James Hayman

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 346
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Sept. 27 – 30, 2013
Challenge: RIP VIII
Yearly count: 41
Format: E-Book
Source: Publicist/Edelweiss

Darkness FirstBlurb: In the dark shadows of a summer evening a young woman is brutally slain by a remorseless killer’s razor sharp blade. Learning that her closest childhood friend was nearly killed in the same incident, Portland Detective Maggie Savage rushes to the scene to join the State Police investigation. Maggie soon discovers the killer’s name is Conor Riordan.  There’s only one problem.  Conor Riordan doesn’t exist.

The only person who can provide a clue as to who Riordan really is, is the victim’s eleven-year-old sister, Tabitha. And now Tabitha has turned up missing.  Soon Maggie and her longtime partner, Detective Sergeant Michael McCabe, find themselves in a desperate race against time to find the missing child before she becomes a vicious killer’s next victim.

Taut, twisting, and starring two unforgettable heroes, DARKNESS FIRST is a gruesome thriller about a small town rocked by a savage crime.


Review: I was made aware of this book through Danielle Bartlett, publicity director for HarperCollins. They are starting a new digital imprint: Witness. This is just one of ten books starting the line, which will focus on digital first suspense and thriller books.

Having had to put aside two books this month already for not catching my attention, I was really feeling the start of a slump coming on. All I can say is, thank goodness for this book!

I was enthralled with it from the first page. It’s a really good book. I must warn you, this is apparently the third in the McCabe and Savage series. However, it’s the first book that features Savage as the protagonist. I had no idea it was part of a series; it wasn’t until after I finished it and was looking online for information to write up this review that I discovered it. So obviously, it reads quite well as a standalone.

The pacing in this book was very well done in my opinion. It moved rather quickly, I was pushing the button on my Nook as fast as it would allow me to! The writing is exceptional and the characters very well-developed. Overall, definitely an author I will keep an eye out for in the future. I’m very interested in not only reading the back story of McCabe and Savage from the previous two books, but also finding out what happens in the future with Emily and Tabitha, McCabe and Savage, Harlan and their father. Overall, a great cast of characters I’m looking forward to meeting again.

The only reason I can’t bring myself to rate this book a 5/5 is that I had the bad guy pegged within the first 100 pages. While not necessarily a buzz kill for the book itself, it was a little disappointing to not have the big reveal at the end be a jaw-dropper.

Overall definitely a book that I would highly recommend and I am definitely looking forward to some of the other books Witness will be releasing in the coming weeks!


About the author: James Hayman spent more than twenty years as a senior creative director at one of New York’s largest advertising agencies. He and his wife now live in Portland, Maine.  He is the author of the acclaimed thrillers The Cutting and The Chill of Night, both international bestsellers.

Click here to go to Witness’ homepage.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2013, X-Y-Z

2013.36 REVIEW – The Never List by Koethi Zan

The Never List
by Koethi Zan

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 303
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Aug.13-17, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 36
Format: Print
Source: Library

The Never ListBlurb: For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the Never List: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.

Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn’t make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail.

Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias – and the other survivors, who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, Sarah begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.


Review: When I first saw this book mentioned somewhere (darn it, why can I never remember to jot that down?!), I was immediately intrigued. You can imagine my delight when I saw that my library had two copies on order and that there were only two people on the waiting list!

When I began reading it, I was immediately hooked. I took to Sarah’s character right away. I couldn’t help but pity her and Jennifer after surviving that horrific car crash that claimed the life of Jennifer’s mother. You really couldn’t blame them for starting the “Never List.” They took every precaution … even going so far as to hiring a car service while they were in college so that they would never have to get into a cab with a strange driver. Unfortunately, one night they did indeed let their guard down. And that was the night they were abducted.

I must state that this book coming out so close to the time of those women in Ohio being rescued from that man’s house … just, wow. Just the parallels between the two stories, especially since Sarah and Jennifer were at Ohio State! Very strange, indeed.

I have to give big props to the author, though. This book could have been extremely gruesome based on the abduction and the characters’ time in that cellar. Somehow, Ms. Zan managed to keep the descriptions of their time in the cellar to a minimum, and when it was mentioned, it was done tastefully in my opinion. I know that sounds hard to believe, but it really is how I felt about it. And the language is actually rather clean, with just a few F-bombs scattered throughout. Nothing gratuitous, in my opinion.

I do have one slight issue with this book, though. Sarah’s character bothered me a little bit. First of all, I want to know how you can have someone so afraid of just going outside, manage to leave her apartment, fly across the country, drive at night and investigate something that has haunted her for years? It seemed very much at odds with everything I as a reader knew about Sarah. I mean, she wouldn’t even shake the hand of the FBI agent in charge of her case! How was she able to overcome all of that and go on that journey? It just didn’t really seem plausible that she would be able to cope with so much so quickly.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I felt like it was a roller-coaster, thrill-a-minute ride from page one. I prefer to keep my comments here relatively clean, but I can’t help but tell you that when I finished this book, the first thing that came to my mind was “what a total mind-f*ck.” It’s the best psychological thriller I’ve read in some time.

Highly recommended.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011

2011.40 REVIEW – Closer than Blood by Gregg Olsen

Closer than Blood
by Gregg Olsen

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 412
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: July 31 – Aug. 4, 2011
Challenge: TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 40
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new

Blurb: The first victim was easy. No one ever suspected the victim had been murdered. The crime long buried, the dark passions guiding the killer’s hand are still alive. But the need for revenge cannot be denied. Only one person can stop the killing. Only one person can identify the killer. Only one person knows the face of death – is as close as the face in the mirror…

Review: Mr. Olsen never fails to impress me. I have read all of his fiction novels so far and have enjoyed every single one of them. The amount of evil he can come up with is amazing to me. Tori, one of the twins in this book … wow, what a character, is all I can say. The storyline was interesting and there was a very interesting twist that came out of left field for me! I simply can’t say enough good things about this book – for sure pick this one up!

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2011

2011.30 REVIEW – Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson

Lost Souls 
by Lisa Jackson

Copyright: 2008, 2009
Pages: 488
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: June 15 – June 21, 2011
Challenge:  No Challenge
Yearly Count: 30
Format: Print

First Line: Where am I?

Blurb: Kristi Bentz wants to write true crime. All she needs is that one case that will take her to the top. She finds it when she enrolls at All Saints College after learning that four girls have disappeared in less than two years. All four girls were “lost souls” – troubled, vulnerable girls with no one to care about them, no one to come looking for them if they disappeared. The only personal that believes Kristi is her ex-lover, Jay McKnight, a professor on campus. The police think the girls are runaways, but Kristi senses there’s something that links them – something terrifying. As Kristi gets deeper into her investigation, she gets the feeling she’s being watched and followed – studied, even. Then the bodies start turning up, and Kristi realizes she is playing a game with a killer who has selected her for membership in a special club from which there will be no escaping death….

Review: Vampires, sex, murder … this book has it all. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it was a little on the long side for the story it was trying to tell, but honestly, that didn’t take away too much from the book itself. Having read Lisa Jackson’s books before, they are usually guaranteed to be a good thriller, but sometimes this one felt a little pushed in places. It’s hard to explain what I’m really trying to say. It was a good book, no doubt about it. But it didn’t feel entirely believable. I think that was my issue with it. Maybe that’s just me not buying into the whole commercialized vampirism and whatnot (now, if you want a good vampire story, check out Blood Oath). However, I suppose if the vampire element had been left out of this book, it would have felt like a gazillion other thriller books with very similar plots. Overall, I would recommend this book. But I think it’s a very forgettable read.